President’s Report – June 23, 2011
> Rinaldo II Compulsory Interest Arbitration Award issued April 11, 2011 (copy in all firehouses and emailed to all members who are registered with Union website.
· When you are injured or believe you have been injured, GO TO THE HOSPITAL and document everything. Follow the 2005 – now revised bulletin concerning IOD. Dated May 25, 2011 (attached)
· City has 90 days from date of issue to file appeal. Papers are drawn up waiting court date to get Award confirmed.
· Mayor Brown requested control board to review and then voted not to pay us over 9 million dollars in back pay. ( Copy of resolution & how they voted is attached)
> Unfortunately, Republican – right wing politics prevailed in the Court of Appeals decision (instead of the law) that came down April 20, 2011 against the step increases for Local 282 members’ class of 2002, the PBA, and Teachers.
> Our next Arbitration for years 2004-2006. A hearing with PERB before Judge Lynn Fitzgerald to be scheduled.
> Campagna Health Insurance Award confirmation hearing was scheduled for May 3, 2011.
· The City objected to Judge Whelan hearing the case because he is the brother of retired Deputy Commissioner Margaret Keane and Uncle to Margaret Keane and Katie Vanderwalker. This was just another stall tactic by the City. The City hired attorney from Hodgson Russ, Joshua Feinstein. By asking for the recusal of Judge Whelan, they were questioning his integrity to interpret the law correctly. Judge Diane Devlin confirmed the award on June 13, 2011.
· Another court date is being sought to have City held in contempt of court for not abiding by the Award and Judge’s decision: City to make 100% of all health insurance contributions for members and retirees and should be compensated “reimbursed” for co-pays and out of pocket expenses within 60 days. The City continues to charge our new members for health insurance regardless what plan they choose; that includes the 901, illegally. They are being charged 25-15% for the lesser health insurance plan.
· Since this Award, the City started to charge many of our retired members for a part of their health insurance illegally.
· I wrote to Antoinette Palmer, Director of Compensation and Benefits on March 24, 2011 and again to Omar Price, Director of Labor Relations on May 6, 2011 asking for the contract that allows the City to charge our retirees. As of this report date neither one of these city officials has given me an answer.
> Arbitration – Must Answer why they skipped Fitzgerald and Weitz
· Arbitrator Rapin decision: Commissioner Whitfield must provide us with the reason they skipped these two firefighters for promotion. This was issued February 12, 2011. Up to this report, Commissioner Whitfield has not followed the Arbitrator’s decision and given us the reason Sean and Jim were skipped.
> Arbitrator MacDonnell ruled on April 22, 2011 that the skipping of Fitzgerald and Weitz and possible further skipping can be arbitrated. Local 282 is now attempting to schedule arbitration. Does the City have the right to choose 1 out of 3 under New York State civil service law for our promotions?
> City Ending Promotional List that was adopted in 2004.
· Vacating Arbitrator Fosters decision, it was legal to end promotional lists due to potential harm as a result of MOCHA’s lawsuit over the civil service list. 282 is attempting to schedule a new arbitration hearing.
2008– Lost Arbitration Case over City’s decision to end
Promotional lists because there was not enough
eligible minority candidates on the list
2010– Judge Dillon overturned arbitration decision
12/ 2010– Appellate Court Affirmed
4/29/2011 – Appeals Court denied City’s request to appeal
> Arbitration for No Lieutenant at Fire Investigation was postponed by City. No new date
set. This is just another stall tactic.
> Met May 2nd with Commissioner Whitfield and Deputy Commissioner Gugliuzza. We discussed possible new uniforms, but no agreement was reached. Left the meeting with understanding we would meet again.
Unexpectedly without any agreement with Local 282, the Commissioner put out New Duty Uniforms Order 14 & 15 dated May 16, 18, 2011. Judge Glownia issued a temporary restraining order against Commissioner Whitfield from enforcing his orders 14 & 15 allowing 282 members to wear unsafe duty uniforms that are not in compliance with NFPA 1975 standards. Attempting to arrange another meeting over this issue.
> At the conclusion of the May 2nd meeting, both Commissioner Whitfield and Deputy Commissioner Vinny Gugliuzza assured Vice President Tom Barrett and me that they were doing everything in their power to get promotions.
> Arbitration for 14 Day – No Overtime for being off sick “Penalty Box” was scheduled for January 4, 2011. The City never confirmed with the Arbitrator. It is now scheduled for August, IF THEY DON”T ASK FOR POSTPONEMENT or don’t show up.
> 2% Foreign Insurance Money. Local 282 has had a signed agreement for the past month or so. There are checking accounts opened for each fire company. Trustees independent from the elected executive board members are in place to assist in the initial set up and implementation of New York State Laws that preside over this money. Once the money is deposited in the accounts more information will be forthcoming.
> Swapping of Overtime. Arbitrator Dennis Campagna ruled June 2,2011 swapping of overtime shifts is not part of the contract, therefore effective July 2, 2011 it will be prohibited by Commissioner Whitfield, per his order # 8 dated February 12, 2010. The attorneys are reviewing for possible appeal; but that will not stop Commissioner Whitfield from enforcing this order #8. Decision was emailed to all members.
> Cancer screening. Commissioner Whitfield has in his possession an agreement that allows 282 members to follow New York State Cancer Screening Law.
> MOCHA Lawsuit over Drug Testing. The time frame for this was around 1995 thru 2001. Local 282 provided legal representation at depositions for past Presidents Dave Donnelly and Vinny Gugliuzza. Our lawyers have spent countless hours reviewing transcripts preparing for these 2 days of hearings and determining why we are part of it and why we should not be excused from the whole case. The City of Buffalo was responsible for the drug testing and not 282.
> 14 day Dr’s note. The City representative Omar Price and our attorney Jonathan Johnsen have agreed City would provide doctor at their expense, drop all charges against 282 members and reimburse any member who was disciplined. We are still waiting. I was asked to appear at Common Council Finance Committee hearing to justify administration requesting amounts between $200,000.oo and $600,000.oo for medical expenses. The Council approved after I answered all their questions to their liking. This is just another delay by the City.
> Tier V. We continue to lobby our State Senators and Assembly Members to correct the unfair implementation of Tier V pension provisions on our new members hired since September 2009. The poor interpretation by the New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association and their lawyer has harmed more 282 members than the whole state combined. Buffalo has hired 110, the rest of state approximately 90. Yonkers has 36 and New York City has 0. Sponsors of our bill are Pat Gallivan (R) and Mark Grisanti (R) in the Senate and Dennis Gabryszak (D) and Mark Schroeder (D) in the Assembly. Senator Tim Kennedy has assured us he will do whatever it takes to get this passed.
Mayor Brown’s opposition has no affect on whether or not it gets passed by the State Legislators. The only thing that positively affects it, is the Home Rule Message passed by our City Common Council unanimously. Brown’s opposition shows his distain for all members of Local 282.
> The IAFF, at the request of Local 282, supported Kathy Hochul with a substantial donation. Our support was at the very early stages of her campaign, before any poll was giving her a chance or stating she was in the lead.
> The PAC Committee and Executive Board is continuing to access our political involvement in the political arena and use of our assets.
> A motion was made to resume supplying water by 282. The cost of water and what it was used for got out of hand. Board Members have arranged for storage of water at office in back garage. This has allowed us to buy pallets of water at a time, therefore, reducing cost by 40%. Also water is only available for Fire Scene use ONLY.
> Please register with the 282 website to receive emails and text messages (buffalofirefighters.com). The best way to get information is to attend the Monthly Union Meetings and ask Executive Board Members. The next union meeting will be September 8th, 2011.
We are expected to show up at work on time.
We are expected to follow all rules & regulations of the Buffalo Fire Department.
We are expected to comply with all clauses of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.
We are expected to obey all laws of New York State and the United States
Yet, the Mayor and his appointed representatives continue to ignore the Taylor Law, Arbitration Awards and violate our labor contract whenever they wish to, along with established labor relations protocols.
Many ask about negotiations. Local 282’s leadership is ready and willing to negotiate a fair and equitable contract for all our members anytime the City is serious. By serious, I mean not asking to take away benefits, both monetary and safety conditions (4 man minimum manning) we now have.
282 Member & President,
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